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Zucchini Preserves

September 16, 2010

This yummy recipe comes from The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich.  During the winter last year we tried our hand at making many of her jams and marmalades; all of which were a huge success.  Ours friends gardens continue to produce zucchinis like crazy and we’ve been gifted our fair share…so now is the time to put them in a jar.

These zucchini preserves turned out beautiful.  At first, I thought that my cubes were too big but they are just the perfect bite size.  The picture does not do them justice as each little cube looks like a piece of crystal candy in a sunny sugar sauce.  I’m not sure what I will eat them with our if they will make a solo appearance.  I bet they’d be good with some vanilla ice-cream.  Linda recommends you try them “atop biscuits or white yeast bread.”


  • 2 1/2 pounds peeled, seeded very large zucchini, cut into approximately 3/4″ cubes
  • 1/4 cup strained lemon juice
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger, in a spice bag (I prefer a spice ball)
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a preserving pan and let the mixture stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  Most of the sugar will dissolve during this period.  Note: use a large pan because the zucchini produces a lot of water that will need to be boiled down later.
  2. Place the pan over medium heat and heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Raise the heat to medium-high and boil the mixture uncovered until it reaches the thread stage or 230F; this will probably take about 20 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir until the boiling stops.  Remove the spice ball holding the ginger.  Let the preserves cool in the pan; the zucchini chunks will plump as they cool. (we let it cool for about 10 minutes…it was still hot when we jarred it)
  4. Ladle the preserves into 250mL or 500mL mason jars.  Add lids and rings, and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Remove lid and let stand uncovered for 5 minutes before taking jars out. 

THREAD POINT: This was the first recipe I used that called for this kind of gel test but it really is nothing to worry about.  A thread test is a term used to describe a thicker syrup (thicker than jam).  Simply drop a bit of the syrup into a cool glass of water, the syrup should form a thread to the bottom of the glass, about 2″ long.  If a ball forms instead, the syrup has been overheated.  If the syrup dissolves in the water without forming a thread, you will need to continue to heat the syrup until it reaches the thread point.  Be sure to use a clean glass of cool water each time you do the test.  I wish I had a photo of this…next time.  Linda recommends using an instant read digital thermometer as the syrup will form a thread at 230F.  This is what we did as well as the cool water test…it worked perfectly.

Put up Total:

  • 1 x 375mL diamond mason jar
  • 1 x 500mL wide mouth mason jar

Our yield was off by 125mL but this may be because we didn’t let the zucchini cool enough?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa H. permalink
    July 31, 2011 4:29 pm

    Is that 2 1/2 lbs. of zucchini AFTER it has been peeled and seeded? Or before? I want to get my ratios correct because I have a gazillion zucchini from my garden and want to make a bunch of Zucchini Preserves…sounds wonderful!

    • July 31, 2011 8:05 pm

      Thanks for the question. Weigh the zucchini after they’ve been peeled and seeded (although, I’m sure it won’t make too much difference). Let us know how they turn out?

  2. Melissa H. permalink
    August 2, 2011 4:26 pm

    Sadly, I had to throw the entire batch away. I’ve never made such a mess canning anything. I followed the directions and at 230°F it didn’t thread and was still very, very soupy…nowhere close to any candy stage. I sitrred frequently, just so it didn’t stick on the bottom. I cooked it for a little longer and tested it again…got a thread and took it off the stove. I started stirring it as I took it off the stove and, suddenly, this black “bloom” started at the bottom of the pan and mushroomed up through the whole batch. It turned the entire batch black. I tasted it and it was scorched, so I threw it away. It went from soupy to burned in just a very few minutes and I honestly don’t know what happened. I’m just sick over the waste of my ingredients and the zucchini I grew. I have never had such disasterous results in my years of canning. I’m so disappointed, that I don’t know whether to wait for more zucchini and start over or just forget the whole thing.

    • August 3, 2011 5:30 pm

      Awe….I really feel for you. I’ve had some frustrating canning experiences as well and always get so mad at myself when things don’t turn out.
      I don’t know if I would bother trying it again. There is a wonderful zucchini marmalade we’ve made in the past and might do again with our glut of zucchinis.
      If we do I’ll be sure to post the recipe.

  3. Amy permalink
    September 8, 2013 3:13 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for a fantastic recipe. I did modify it slightly, but my sister is a chef and declared this the best thing I’ve canned in years. LOL Anyway, it’s fabulous – thank you!

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